I used to hate every minute I was there. Every time I was greeted by the overly sappy paraplegic at the entrance triggered my gag reflex. I despised the obnoxious patrons whose only use for me was to swipe their precious Bagel Bites or Great Value brand milk across the register, then each one of them would throw me out of their life like yesterday’s receipts. Every time I looked at the clock and realized I still had seven hours of this hell to endure, death seemed a delicious alternative.

But now… what is this? Why is this happening to me? I still remember the endless lines of screaming customers, and yet… by some unseen and unknowable force, I feel myself being drawn… drawn back to Wal-Mart. Is this a work of a god? Sam Walton? Is that you?

Maybe this makes perfect sense. Take another look at this chaotic superstore. No, not there; look harder. This cold, unfeeling, beautiful superstore. Think about it. Every Wal-Mart is a gift. And the best part: they’re all the same. Every store is a holy window to our past. Like a portal to some spiritual Nirvana, we enter a Wal-Mart and every memory comes flooding back in: during our life’s dawning years, being pushed around in the cart while Ma buys the groceries; picking out the perfect faux Christmas tree, the joy of seeing summer goodies crop up in the seasonal section… Wal-Mart is our home. Truly, it is the one place in which we have all grown up, and it is the place where we will all check out of this life.

And so I feel myself being drawn back to this beautiful retail Eden. An intense yearning, a craving, a lust like I’ve never felt before. I need you. I want you. Thank you, Sam Walton. From now on, seven times a day I kneel on my floor facing Bentonville, Arkansas. I pray for the legion of workers who don’t know how blessed they are by this glorious company. I pray for the millions of customers the store graciously feeds and nurtures like a loving mother owl. I pray harder, screaming and sobbing at Sam Walton for forgiveness. Wal-Mart loved and protected me when I did not want it. I was a fool. Truly, Wal-Mart is the loving father and I his prodigal son. I pray that the great cashiers of the past will lovingly guide my path back to Wal-Mart. I love you, Wal-Mart. I love you.